You’ll find free camping, new events (including Mother’s Day treats), new owners and perhaps a ghost at the Harrisville Royal Hotel in the Scenic Rim of Queensland.
We met new publicans Kath and Jayd at this historic pub. Both critical care nurses from the Gold Coast, Kath told us, “After Covid we were done. Jayd is cooking now!” They have devoted themselves to their new business!
The proof was all around us. I thought the pub always had vintage tractors parked all around. However, it just happened to have the Milbong Tractor Club lunch! Whilst we enjoyed our lunch, a member would start up his tractor and head home!
Kath said, “When we came on board, I wrote to all the car clubs and charity runs. Now our function area is booked well ahead.”
It is a lovely room behind the pub – however, there is also a dining room and a lovely verandah.
“The restaurant has a facelift – so the mural really pops,” Jayd updated us. “There’s nice music in the restaurant, it’s a great venue to dine out or you can stay in the bar, and watch sport on the big screens.”
A haunted history
Make sure you check out the gallery of history – dating back to 1875 and one of Australia’s first female publicans. In fact, it is believed that Margaret Wholey Dunn haunts the pub still.
The Harrisville Inn burnt down in 1916, and was rebuilt in 1920. Since then it is a popular among paranormal groups – with nighttime encounters with Margaret and two other ghosts!
Free camp beside the gully
Although the pub does not offer accommodation, there is a huge grassy area behind the pub beside the Normanby Gully, for patrons to free camp! Closed Mondays and Tuesdays, camping is pet friendly, with toilets but no showers. Fires are allowed and there are kayaks you can borrow.
Mother’s Day and other events
Jayd said, “The car show will be a big day out here, and we’ve just had our ANZAC Day event.”
With Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 14, she promises, “Every mum will be offered a free glass of champagne, to make them feel special. I’ll be cooking again! We’ll have a special Mother’s Day special menu in conjunction with the normal menu.”
Thursday night is Parmie night at the Royal. The couple introduced Sunday afternoon live music from 1pm – Jayd put out a call to locals, “We want to have more live music for local artists”.
Kath agreed and said, “Everyone says [the pub] has improved, and is more hospitable now.”
We certainly found that! Friendly hosts,a yummy lunch, lots of happenings and a truly lovely area out the back to camp on the river. Up the road, we visited Scenic Rim Mushrooms (there is so much local produce in the beautiful Scenic Rim) – plus lakes, walks, national parks… go and say hello!
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